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Thursday, February 15, 2024

Private Sector is committed to facilitate the Progress of CPEC

China and Pakistan have been vocal about dismissing the allegations leveled by US Ambassador Alice Wells. Trade leader Sheikh Humayun Saeed has stressed that the country’s private sector stands in support of CPEC, while the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson dismissed Wells’ statements as a repetition of Washington’s persistent slander.

Sheikh Humayun Sayeed, former Vice President of FPCCI and Chairman of Hamara Pakistan, a socio-economic forum, has opposed the criticism by US Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Alice Wells on CPEC, in a recently released press statement.

He said that the US is wrong in its perception that CPEC will add more debt burden to Pakistan, in fact with the development of special economic zones, Pakistan will open its doors to foreign investments and trade for strategic economic development.

CPEC: Strategic Economic Development

Sayeed further stated that CPEC not only focuses on building roads and improving the rail network but also, it is focused on establishing people to people communication and it is the major driving force for overall economic and social development of the country.

He observed that the private sector of Pakistan with all clarity is confident that CPEC is a gateway to global security and economic prosperity in the entire region. He said, in his communication with the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, one cannot deny the historical significance of deep-rooted ties between Pakistan and the People’s Republic of China, which should be strengthened further without any interference from other countries.

Sayeed concluded, “Long live PakistanChina friendship!”

Old Slanders against CPEC & BRI

China and Pakistan have, on numerous occasions, dismissed Washington’s dubious observations on the outcomes of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and its impact on Pakistan’s economic situation. Addressing the weekly press briefing on Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Geng Shuang observed that Alice Wells’ remarks are a “mere repetition of old slanders against China, the CPEC and the BRI like those chanted by some in the US.”

He observed that “some in the US still use the same script” and said that Washington has always adopted a negative stance on CPEC and Beijing’s wide-ranging Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Shuang said, “They don’t stop though the show has become a complete disaster, and they don’t get off the stage even when booed by the audience.”

Explaining China’s commitments towards CPEC, Shuang stressed that China puts the interests of Pakistan first. He said, “First, in advancing CPEC development, China is committed to the principle of consultation and cooperation for shared benefits. We put Pakistani people’s interests first.”

“Major progress has been achieved in the past five years, with early harvests reaped in at least 22 projects. This has significantly improved local transportation infrastructure and power supply, created tens of thousands of jobs for Pakistanis and contributed one to two percent of economic growth in Pakistan.”

He observed that CPEC is playing an increasingly important role in boosting the socio-economic development of Pakistan and improving the livelihood of its people. “Whether the CPEC works and whether China-Pakistan cooperation is good or not, the answer is presented to you in facts and data.”

Read more: China is Pakistan’s all-weather friend: Shehbaz snubbed Alice Wells’ criticism on CPEC

Addressing the issue of debts raised by Alice Wells, the Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson said, “Second, the US side, in total disregard of facts, has been talking all about the fabricated “debt issue” with the true aim to disrupt CPEC development and sow discord in China-Pakistan relations with malicious calculations.”

He explained, “As a matter of fact, half of Pakistan’s foreign debt is from multilateral financial institutions. More than 80 percent of CPEC projects are funded by direct investment or grants from China, with less than 20 percent using Chinese loans.”

“According to statistics released by the Pakistani side, debt incurred from the CPEC stands at 4.9 billion US dollars, less than one-tenth of Pakistan’s total debt. I’m afraid certain individuals in the US are not bad at math, but rather misguided by evil calculations.”

He argued that if Washington seeks to extend cooperation towards Pakistan and aid Islamabad in accelerating the pace of economic development, the US “should take concrete measures and honor its commitments instead of always paying lip service and being the spoiler.”

Geng Shuang stated, “It is neither healthy nor honorable to prevent others from delivering what one fails to.”

Read more: US warns Pakistan of risks from CPEC

Concluding his remarks, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said, “Finally, whatever the US says or does to sabotage our cooperation, China will work with Pakistan for steady progress in the CPEC and in our all-weather strategic cooperative partnership to bring more benefits to the Pakistani people, to the region and beyond.”

Earlier in November, Alice Wells, US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia, had cautioned that CPEC is likely to have adverse impacts for the economic growth of Pakistan and the livelihood of its people.

She observed, “CPEC almost always takes the form of burdensome loans or financing with Chinese state-owned enterprises and the Chinese government profiting. This is hardly the “peace and win-win cooperation” OBOR is supposed to facilitate.”

Numerous officials and politicians from China and Pakistan have refuted Washington’s observations on CPEC, cementing their commitment to fulfill the developments and obligations agreed under the agreements between the two all-weather partners.